Next up among the pages Kim already seems to have torn from Trump’s dealmaking book: Know Your Market—in this case Trump. Kim appears to have recognized that the latest White House occupant would be more willing than any before (and most likely after) to ignore both North Korea’s appalling human-rights record and warnings from the U.S. foreign policy community about the risks of holding such a meeting. Quickly organized and without scripted outcomes, the summit is a high-stakes endeavor, especially given Pyongyang’s past history of double-dealing over nuclear commitments.
“I’ve been through three North-South summits,” says Daniel Sneider, a lecturer in East Asian studies at Stanford, recalling that Kim Dae-jung, a former South Korean president, won the Nobel Peace Prize after a similarly ballyhooed meeting with North Korea in 2000. “Does it lead to denuclearization? I don’t think so.”